4 first places finishes and one incredible loss...

I am not sure if you remember at all for those of you that know the story behind all this racing stuff and where and how it all started, so I'll give you a lil run down.  I had been riding really hard on the streets canyon roads for quite a while.  I scraped my foot peg down past the metal and really when I look at it now, it's nuts!  I really rode hard and and always tried to see how low I could get and how much spark I could get off the pegs. I remember seeing nate scrape his pegs on a road trip in 09 I think or maybe 08?  But when he did that, I was like wholly shit what the fuck!?@  I wanna do that!   So years pass, 2011,2012 and I get better at riding etc...  I had a hard riding moto accident that slid me off a cliff. I and my bike were both pretty damn lucky.  With the advice and good guidance from dave grohl and with some heavy influence from my Racer 13 Family. (Ricky Brown the most) I decided to trake that riding to the track.  So 2012 I asked nate if we could put together a track / race bike from some bikes we had in the shop.  He and the crew built us our first version of what is now our race bike. It was 2 crashed jobs that BA-MOTO had got and we built ourselves what we called our "FrankenBike". With the help of Stacie London we know knew what the AHRMA family had to offer us and we wanted to get involved in racing the THRUXTON CUP. With the help of some borrowed leathers and boots and tire warmers from Ricky Brown, We had our first track day in Sonoma.  Soon after that I got my racing license from the AHRMA school and raced at willow springs last April 2012. Being scared off my ass 1/2 the time, was able to take home a 4th and 5th place finish. (ORANGE VEST AND ALL) oh and I had no 5th gear the second race! :( 

So here we are 2013.  Nate and I had done a few track days to get the bike dialed in and had some issues with electrical, then an issue with me riding to hard on a cold track and crashed out.  We got the bike back together for Willow Springs / Somona Thruxton Cup Races and were ready to see what we could do. Nate and I collaberated on a new look for the bike we were pretty stoked on how it all came out.  The guys at Boss really helped us out.  As race day approcached and we were pulling up, I was staring at the track and my stomach was in my throat.  Connet was next to me and I said dude I always get so nervous before I get to the track!!  We charge up to find our spot where we could be near the other Thruxton Cup boys and also make room for our posse that was going to be showing up. 

We had practice on Friday and the bike was having some issues with Jetting. It was bogging out on the straight away's and we needed to get that all dialed in.  The wrench gave us some options and we made some adjustments and in a few sessions, got it all dialed in.  I had my line pretty damn down but really felt I needed help in a few turns. I went to my Race School track map and studied the line they taught us. Saturday practice came and I took my session well and kept as smooth as fast as possible.  My times were pusing about 1:41, 1;42 on avg.  Not bad for a Thruxon.  If it wasn't for MIKE V and his racing tools and expertise I really don't think we would have done as well. Mike, welcome to the Road Race Team man!  :) 

RACE 1: Willow:  This was by far the most intense riding I have ever done in my life.  I mean I have riden hard on caynon roads with Nate and the crew but this was a completely different ball game.  We run 8 laps in the Thruxton Cup and it soon became aparent that Mike Blankenship (With who ran with me last year was always on my ass) and I were going to be at it again.  This time was much more intense.  Through out the 8 laps, we changed between 1st and 2nd place at least 6 times.  It really was an intense battle. He would get me in the straight away and I would get him into turn 1. And just back and fourth we went. He would keep catching me in turn 8 and we would fight to get the right spot for the last turn 9.  On lap 7 we were both battling in turn 8. I knew he was right on my ass, I went to set up for turn nine and he and I bumped bike at about 100mph it was so nuts, both of our bars shook and we both gained control and poured on the throttle to make the turn.  As lap 8 came around I was able to hold him off and take the win.  I couldn't belive it! I got first place!?@  Wholly Shit!  After passing the finish line I immediately looked back at mike and we gave ea other a thumbs up.  He came up and we hi fived as we did our victory lap. We pulled up to ea other after we pitted out and we both congratulated ea other on a great race. I rode back to our pits and everyone was yelling and taking photos.  Everyone was so proud and I was shaking! It was such an intense ride. That bike was shaking like crazy the last lap and she held in to win! It was an incredible race.  We had a great time that night. Dennis got naked and Mark got bottomless. AHHAHA.  I had an amaizng support team of my moto family there and I was really stoked to make them and the shop proud.  Jamie "The Wrench" had worked to hard to get the bike ready and dialed in. He really busted his ass, I was so proud to win that one.  There were really so many people that helped all weekend but really NATE is the one that has been there since day 1, every time waking up early with me for track days, being there with me at 6am... etc. He is the shit and I really owe all this racing stuff becoming a reality to him.  Connet helped a ton that day and so did the rest of the guys, Dennis , Wrench , Party Marty.  Just was amazing to have all my moto family there. At the awards ceremony that day we were so pumped and had our whole crew there. Mike Blankenship went up to get his award can called me out.  "HEATH, I'LL SEE YOU TOMORROW" we all looked at ea. other and said.  "Did he really just say that? AHAHA.  Ok man... See you tomorrow.  :/"  Were not shit talkers or hype builders, we ride. And so we rode.  

RACE 2: Willow.  Since I was having some challeges with Mike catching me in 8, I decided it was time to go to my racing coach (Andrew Cowell) I had always asked his opinion or question when it came to my racing and something that I might be able to improve on.  That morning I went to his trailer and said "Andrew, I need your advice in a few turns...." He said "Let's go to the map" He took me into where we took the race school and gave me 3-4 tools to use that I immediately applied in my practice sessions.  :) I was happy and knew I had what it would take to keep mike a little more at a distance I HOPE! AHAH.  I had a really good start off the line and was able to get in front of a few guys then one of the other THRUXTON CUP guys greg's seat was about to fall off in front of me! I went around him and got to work. I used my new COWELL tricks and was able to get in front again.  Mike was getting close in the straight away again and knew I was going to have to get on it in turn 8. I applied my new tool from andrew and was able to take turn 8 a lot faster and was able to keep in front, get around the traffic really well and win again!  I was so stoked!!! It was just the most amazing feeling to know you crossed the finish line in first place! The checker flag was all mine! It was so awesome.  I had been talking with my friend KARLA all weekend.  She was at work and was not able to make it out to the races. She called me yelling and so happy!! We texed a few times and I was really hoping to see her that night. The club always heads to "THE PIKE" after events, races etc to celebrate and see our friends.   We finish at the track so excited and head to have a drink and some food with our friends.  KARLA was there, waiting and just so happy. She was hugging me, punching me telling me how proud she was with that little crooked talk she does. I loved it. We sat and talked for about 45 mins or just blocking everyone out. She was telling me about her job and how she didn't like it much and really wanted to persue her dream of helping people! She had been going through some final stages of an interview process and was really hoping for some amazing news to come up.   We hugged, she ran and chased nate around the pike.. Kissed me on the cheek and left.    Little did I know that was the last time I would ever see .    Karla passed away that night on her motorcycle heading home.   WE  WERE DEVESTATED.....  

The next few days were really a blurr, we all hung out at the shop and just sat in disbelief. We didn't know what to do, where to go or how to feel. We were so confused, it wasn't real... She didn't really die did she!?@ I was just with her, we just were with her. I don't get it.    --------------------  It was a hard 2 days right after.  We were supposed to head to Sonoma to race 2 more Thruxton Cup races and I was in no mood to do that.  Really, even if I did, I am not missing her funeral and am not leaving town.  

As another day passed I had come to find out the funeral was going to be the following week.  And I listened to her voicemail she left me about winning the races and then I knew. I had to race for her. I had to make her proud. I had to do this race and ride as smart as I could for her.  She would fly down here and punch me if I didn't.  She would kick me and say "DUDE!#  GET YOUR ASS OUT THERE!!!!!" HAHA.  And so I drove up to Sonoma alone and was determined to run well. My buddies Ricky Brown and CJ Weaver, both AMA riders from the bay area and they knew the sonoma track well.  CJ had hand written me his lines that he takes at the track and went over them with me on the phone.  Ricky did the same thing and told me he would be there thursday to help me.  I studied the map and videos all night and all day. Practice time came and I really was feeling confident with my angel watching over me and friends guiding me with good tools for me to use out on the track. 

SONOMA RACE 1: I had My Brothers and Sister In Law and Niece and Nephews, Ricky and Phillip there and it really motivated me. As I was getting ready for Race 1, I just sat as I was stretching and looked off into the mountains. I felt karla, sitting under the tree with her leather jacket on, just giving me the thumbs up saying as her text wrote "get em tiger, have fun out there on the track luv!! <3"  I rode hard, smart and smooth and won Race 1.  As soon as I crossed the finish line I broke down crying in my helmet, and I was pointing up at the heavens at her, yelling.... "This is for you dammmit, I love ya girl, our karla! we mis you." I had my head on the tank the whole victory lap.  I was shaking so much.  I got to our pits and everyone was so stoked, I barely got off the bike and was on my knees crying so much...  That race was for Karla.  So at that point is was 3 wins in a row! I couldn't believe it! I really was doing that well!?@ Wholly SHIT I told myself!   

SONOMA RACE 2:  ba moto brother Arlo and one of my best friends growing up with came out to support me and I was so excited to have such love surrounding me for such an emotional week. I applied the same tools and rode as my coach Ricky guided me and was able to run strong again and once again place 1st place.  4 in a row! It was mind blowing. I really was feeling so strong on the track and bike was working and running amazing!! Wrench really built me a great bike to ride and really I owe so much to him and his hard work. Any great rider can be great... But without a kick ass bike running under you, it doesn't matter how good or focused you are.  OH YEA... And speaking of focused, I was texting nate as he couldn't be there and he misspelled the word CALM with CLAM and he wrote this "SMOOTH, CLAM, ALWAYS PREFER THAT" I didn't get it at first, didn't notice.... Then he showed me... And I was busting up.  He always knows how to get me back in the game and just remember to have fun.   Love that guy. 

Really in the sceme of things, I had no idea I could do that well racing. As my coaches taught me "Race the track not the guy" I did that... And this year I was a ton more comfortable with passing guys, rode smart, smooth, "CLAM" haha and ended up winning.  I really didn't have 1st place in my mind.  I rode my best and really thats where I ended up. If I had rode my best and I was in 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd... I'd be so happy and just proud of myself for racing and following my dream. Everytime I am on that track I am there to have fun, race smart, smooth, follow and know my lines, look ahead, think and throttle through... If that means I end up in first, cool.  if I'm in last so what. I'm gonna do my best and where ever I end up... that's where I'm meant to be.   As the great John Wooden taught me "BE QUICK, BUT DON'T HURRY".   Right Wrench? :)   Thanks to everyone who made this Racing Dream a reality. 

BIG BROTHER WALT, if it wasn't for you, none of us would be racing. I consider you family. Love ya man. Thruxton boys: Darryl, Paul, Greg, Mike, JP, Wick, John, Fred, Luke, Jeff. Dirt Dave! Stacie, Ivan, Joe Weir, 



CHEIF  26x